Friday, May 29, 2009

Potty Training is Fun!

Okay, "fun" might be an exaggeration... but it is actually not as bad as I thought.

I was very excited about embarking on this task for obvious reasons... no more changing dirty diapers, saving money and saving the earth! At the same time, I was fearful of the mess that it was going to make (I envisioned poo and pee everywhere around the house) and thought it was going to be physically and emotionally draining... Take heart, all of you moms out there who are yet to potty train... you will be amazed at how easy it can be!

As I was researching how to potty train my almost 2.5 year old daughter, I read an article by Johanne Cesar "The Potty Trainer":

"Potty training is not an innate behavior. In other words, your child was not born with the ability to potty train. Pay close attention to what I am about to tell you. This is the whole secret. Potty training is a learned behavior..
Just like your child learns to walk, read, ride a bike, climb stairs...Potty training is learned. If you do not teach them, they will not learn it."

After reading this, I thought "I need to EXPECT and ACCEPT accidents"... and there I went, applying the method that was recommended to me by my mommy friends.. 1) Go "cold turkey" and let the child run around bottomless, 2) Reward the child with a treat, dance, sticker, etc. 3) Stay at home for at least three consecutive days, and 4) Encourage, encourage, encourage . And it WORKED!!! By the third day, my daughter got it! She understood WHEN she needed to go and WHERE she needed to go. If you're brave enough, you can also do 5) which is, put the child in underwear when they sleep. I didn't do #5 simply because I wanted to tackle day-time potty training before I tackle the sleep-time.

-Reward (Treats, stickers and potty chart, a dance/song, etc)
-Loose pants (if/when you do go out, put them in loose pants and nothing underneath)
-Underwear (eventually)
*Also, make sure you talk, read a book or show a DVD about potty training prior to the actual potty training session. Allowing your child to watch you use the toilet may be the most effective tool.

After potty training for three days, I am thoroughly impressed at how quickly children learn. I feel like I underestimated my child's ability to learn this skill. And it was A LOT less messy than I thought it would be (thank goodness!).

p.s. Getting them to go #2 in the potty takes a little longer... something I found out (and were told by other mommies) is that even at this young age they need their "privacy". So you can give them a book to read and leave the restroom if need be.